Dr Gqubule is a giant amongst black theological teachers in South Africa. Not only is he among the first black doctoral graduates from Rhodes University, but he has the rare distinction of having trained a large proportion of the black ministers in the Protestant Churches of South Africa. As a product of the Rev. Seth Mokitimi at Healdtown, Gqubule matriculated from the Healdtown Missionary Institution near Fort Beaufort in 1947 and qualified as a teacher at the same institution. His vocation as a theological teacher goes back to 1960 where, after a spell as Chaplain to the Indaleni Methodist Missionary School, he taught New Testament and Systematic Theology at the Lovedale United Theological School. During this period he was part of the team that prepared for the establishment of the Federal Theological Seminary at Alice in 1963. He was the only black member of the teaching staff of the seminary and taught Greek, New Testament and Systematic Theology. In 1980, Gqubule was a visiting professor at the Toronto University School of Theology in Canada and a decade later he was a visiting lecturer at the Wesley College, Bristol, England. In time he became the President of the Federal Theological Seminary, President of the South African Council of Churches, and President of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.
In addition to these honours Rev Dr Gqubele embodies the values which The Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary hopes to instil in its graduates, values such as humility, diligence, a passion for learning, deep personal spirituality and a life time of service. At age 86, Gqubule still plays a role in education. He is rightly proud of Ilitha Lemfundo, a private initiative that offers Saturday classes to grade 10, 11 and 12 pupils in Uitenhage.
The Governing Council of the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary elected Dr Gqubule to serve as the First Grand Chancellor, in recognition of his outstanding service to Theological Education and the country. He was inaugurated at the Seminary’s Opening Ceremony, on 1 February 2015 in Pietermaritzburg, by the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Rev Zipho Siwa.